Monday, April 16, 2012

Change of a dress

Hello friends! In an attempt to shame myself back into regular blogging, I have set up a wordpress site and put my real name all over it. It's pretty. Come have a look.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breakfast of champions

Here in New York there always seems to be something to do or somewhere to be at night, so the only meals I've really been preparing lately are breakfasts. Summer is definitely here, and with it lots of delicious fresh produce - as well as sweltering days that leave you no choice but to skulk around the apartment, from fan to fan, in little more than a bra and jocks. But back to breakfasts. I try to resist the plumpening siren song of bagels and cream cheese every day. One thing that has made that easier is discovering that my obsession with tex-mex food could carry over to the breakfast table. Enter, huevos rancheros.

There are many different ways to make these delicious Mexican breakfast eggs. My version is mostly a rip-off of a recipe from Smitten Kitchen (do follow the link for clearer instructional photos), with a fresh little salsa. Start by chopping up half a red onion, an avocado, a tomato or two and a handful of cilantro (coriander). Squeeze over the juice of a lime, add some cracked pepper and sea salt and mix it all up. It's somewhere between salsa and guacamole and I serve it with pretty much everything I cook.

Heat up a tiny bit of oil in a non-stick pan, lightly fry a tortilla until it's golden. Flip over the tortilla and sprinkle some grated cheese on top. I use fluorescent orange cheddar, but only because that's how Americans seem to like to make their cheese. Once the cheese is melting slightly, crack an egg on top. Season with a little salt and pepper. It's pretty impossible to keep the egg from running off the sides of the tortilla, especially if your stovetop or indeed entire kitchen is on a slant, like mine. Don't stress. Things are only going to get messier and uglier from this point, but I promise the results will be delicious. Once the egg is about half cooked, you need to gently flip the whole thing over again and fry the other side of the egg for a few seconds. If you work out how to do this without egg going everywhere, please let me know how.

Slide your concoction onto a plate, egg-side-up. Top with the avocado mix and lashings of sour cream. Fold it as best you can and eat it with your hands, wearing a shirt you can get food all over and a big grin. You're welcome.

Good morning, sunshine

Oh hi, I didn't see you there. I guess we have a lot to catch up on...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shuffle all songs

When the clock ticked over midnight on Saturday night, I realised I’d been here in New York for a month. Somehow in that time I had been too full of everything else – tacos, adventures, beer, music, sunshine, love, gelati, excitement, biking, culture – to write anything down or to listen to my ipod. On Saturday night, after a few drinks with friends old and new, I did both. This is what I scrawled joyfully on the train back to my boyfriend’s place.
I’ve been so loved up since arrival I had to walk the streets alone – the chapels oozing stained glass light, the LES scenesters hanging out of dive bar windows, the cigarettes stubbed in 4th street gutters – to feel the hunger, the need to write. And this is why I came to this city. To race to unknown subway stops, giving tourists directions I’m 79% certain of. To sit next to a dude passionately air-drumming along to his ipod in a newsboy cap on the F train at one in the morning. To feel so far from home I’m somehow at home. When each day brings so much unexpectedness, the only suitable soundtrack is to ‘shuffle all songs’. The downtown streets of Manhattan are bleeding rainbow flags and there is so much love in the air – with the gay marriage bill passed last night and the rest of Pride weekend to play out... It was so lovely to see the streets erupt with trashy disco music and gorgeous men holding each other up in their elation down Christopher Street. “Now we can be just as miserable as you straight couples!”, rejoiced one couple. “Goin to the chapel and we’re, gonna get ma-a-arried,” sang another celebrating dyke duo. And, as is the nature of this ever-changing, ever-transient city, I felt like I’d contributed to this landmark leap forward somehow, just by being here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Does this movie have Muppets in it?

How good is the internet? Today I felt like it existed just for me.

First, NPR is streaming the new My Morning Jacket album, Circuital. There’s some weird sounding stuff in there but the more I listen, the more I love – and these songs are going to sound awesome live. “Holding On To Black Metal” is so irresistibly random.

Then this trailer was released for Green With Envy. But much as I adore Jason Segel, there’s something not quite right about this by-the-numbers rom com...

“Whoah wait, wait, wait, STOP. Does this movie have Muppets in it?!”


So, to recap. New songs from my favourite band and a first taste from the new Muppet movie I’ve been obsessing over for so long. Surely things can’t get any better?

Whoah wait, wait, wait, STOP. Does this My Morning Jacket album have Muppets in it?!

Um. Just about. What I thought was just a rumour I had dreamed, but figured I should google just to be safe, turned out to be not so far-fetched at all. I mean, if you’ve ever seen the Jacket live you know that Jim James is basically a human muppet, and there have long been those who’ve compared his voice to Kermit the frog. But, quoth James to Rolling Stone earlier this year:
Some of the first songs written for the disc, including "Wonderful" and the power-poppy "Out of My System," were originally intended to be played by Muppets: An exec recruited My Morning Jacket to record music for a new version of the Electric Mayhem band (the one with Animal on drums), promising a Gorillaz-style tour where MMJ would play behind a curtain while Muppet holograms bashed away onstage. The psyched band began writing and demo'ing, but the exec got fired and the project disappeared. (In any case, the lyrics of "Out of My System" — "They told me not to smoke drugs, but I didn't listen" — probably wouldn't have worked out.)

James also got a call to write a couple of songs for Jason Segel's new Muppet movie, but they didn't use those either. "So now, twice, Muppet glory has been within my grasp," says James. "It's pretty heartbreaking, but it did propel us just to kick into high gear and finish our own record."
Dear people of the internet: Please, can we start some kind of campaign to make the My Morning Muppet collaboration a reality?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Things I Love Thursday – May 12

Here’s a curveball. I think the thing I love most this week is my job. Not just because today we got a ping pong table in our office, though that was BRILLIANT. And maybe it’s premature nostalgia, because in a couple of weeks I’ll be on a plane again and my temporary role will be up. But last Saturday we had a relaunch to celebrate being open again after the building was wrecked in the Brisbane floods (the water views come at a price), and I finally got to see The Edge full of young people performing and creating and learning and I got it.

See, the tricky thing about The Edge is that it’s hard to explain. My job is to communicate about it and I don’t know if I’ve ever given the same description twice. It’s new, just over a year old. It represents a hefty investment for the Queensland Government and the State Library of Queensland. It’s an incredible building with rich facilities: an auditorium with a sprung floor for dancers; a recording studio; a bunch of Macs loaded up with the software you can never afford to buy yourself. All the space young people need to dream big, and the resources and mentors to help them work toward realising their visions. It’s accessible and inspiring and free, but people don’t seem to know about it, or what it might be able to do for them. So to have the building open and full of people seeing it in full flight on Saturday, I think will go a long way towards building word of mouth that will drive kids in to check it out.

Every generation underestimates, or perhaps resents, the generation that follows it; I know I had to ditch a lot of notions I had about “kids these days” on Saturday. Sitting in the auditorium waiting for a dance workshop to start, I expected apathy, detachment and derision as were de rigueur in my high school days. But these kids were full of support for their contemporaries and there was no shame in participating, in risking looking silly. They learned new dance moves and then the whooped and cheered for the dancers' performance. (As did I. These kids from Fresh Elements are bloody amazing). So, um, way to go, young people. I’m going to miss my job and the rad people I work with; but I feel good knowing when I visit The Edge months and years from now, more and more kids will have found it and made the most of it.

Other things I’ve loved this week:

The beautiful Emily visiting from the UK and commanding quite a crowd of old school chums... Oranges... Freddo Frogs... Ping pong breaks at work! Doing my first shoulder stand at yoga... Crossing things off lists... The Jamie XX/Childish Gambino remix of “Rolling In The Deep”... Reading online advice columns... Wilco... The scary thrill of whizzing down hills on my bike in the dark... Watching girly TV with my very blokey housemate... Riding home without headphones tonight, and hearing someone playing trumpet across the river, notes floating across the water surreal and regal in the dusk. Oh, and I wired the LEDs in this lightning bolt:

OK, one last work-related thing. I have had so much fun writing bits and pieces of copy for the Future City project, which is part of the Ideas Festival. Basically it’s a role-playing game where six people will have to survive in the cultural precinct for a couple of days in the scenario that there’s been a climate apocalypse, civilisation as we know it is destroyed and zombies are marauding around Brisbane. Tomorrow’s the last day you can apply to play one of the characters so if you’re even the tiniest bit curious you should click here and read more. Go on.

What’s made you smile this week?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Folks & their spokes

Heaps of bikie things happening at the moment. I spotted this pink wonder outside Avid Reader in West End (only Brisbane's best bookstore). Here's a round-up of two-wheeled happenings in your neighbourhood and further afield...

Sydney kids – the WOOP! Rolling Festival is this weekend. Join like-minded bike lovers on Sunday May 15 and take to the Bourke Street Cycleway – riding from Waterloo to Woolloomooloo.

In Brisbane there's a Cargo Bike Picnic at the West End markets on Saturday May 28. Great for progressive families who've mastered the art of toting around small children/pets in those rad Dutch cargo bikes - or if you've always wanted to try one, bring along your helmet so you can have a test ride.

Ralph Lauren have a magazine apparently? In which they have an article naming their top eight most stylish bikes. Here's a delicious excerpt:

In the silent skirmish for style supremacy waged every time two dapper gents pass each other, a trump card is needed. Long ago it was a polished carriage with tufted seats. Today it's a bicycle—preferably a rare, custom-made, and extremely elegant bicycle.

Speaking of fashion kids, a match made in cycle chic heaven is Kate Spade’s collaboration with New York bike shop Adeline Adeline. Be warned, this video is basically pornography for the whimsical and twee (and me).

While we’re busting out the scarves and gloves, our pals across the Atlantic are stripping off the layers! New York Cycle Chic says hello to Spring! Scott from The Sartorialist spotted a dapper cyclist on West Broadway. And trust Garance to find the impossible: a cute helmet!

Gala Darling is on the bike band wagon and I can't wait to find out what steed she has selected to roll in her signature style. Her summer to-do list is highly covetable. Again, may be a little torturous for those of us in the southern hemisphere unpacking our jumpers and long johns...

One last observation. Spokey dokes ain't no joke. Baby Blue has been sporting multi-coloured spokey dokes since way back when, but this is an accessory you shouldn't give your bike without some giving them some serious thought. Do you need to make stealthy bicycle getaways? Are you irritated by repetitive noises? Do you have to walk your bike around other people regularly? Spokey dokes are not for you. Given all the rain in Brisbane lately I've taken to parking the blue girl next to my desk at work. An unexpected positive side-effect: seeing Baby Blue leaning up against the window cheers me up countless times a day. An unexpected negative side-effect: I'm driving my colleagues crazy. They can hear me coming from miles away by the twonkling spokey dokes! If I leave the office early, everybody notices! So, you've been warned. With great spokes, comes great responsibility.